Art Brut and The Hold Steady!? Halloween night at the Metro!? I lost my virginity during Detroit Rock City!?
It was two years to the day that I first saw Detroit Rock City. I was 33 and at a party with R. Kelly and Michael J. Fox. It was some warehouse party; you know the type -- midway through someone gets on the loudspeaker and yells for everyone to get the fuck out, but really they just want to clear out all the B-list celebs. R. Kelly and I duck into the men's room and chat it up while playing swords. He dribbles a little bit on me in what could be a precursor to his future troubles, but we laugh it off and he buys me an Irish car bomb. After trading shots for about 20 minutes, we find Foxey hustling Danny Masterson in three-card monte. All four of us soon peace out in some fly-ass limo that R. Kelly hooked up.
Danny puts in the "at the time" new Art Brut CD, and we ROCK OUT! We form a homoerotic human square and do lines off each other's feet. I notice R. Kelly's feet smell really good, and I start to lick them. Someone yells, "STOP!" and everything comes to a crashing halt. My nose ends up in Danny's crack, and I've got Foxey fidgeting near my grundle. The same person who yelled stop says, "Hey! Craig Finn lives around here!" So, we dress clumsily in the back of the limo and eventually find our way to Finn's house. He's pretty drunk by the time we get there, so we are all on the same page -- which is good. Danny, who I'm now realizing has terrible issues with being in control, goes over to the DVD collection, pulls out Detroit Rock City, and tells us all we are going to watch it now. I'd never seen it, so I didn't have a problem with it. And R. Kelly, surprisingly, is a big KISS fan. I curl up with Finn and we nuzzle during the opening scene. I hear a lot of whispering between the other boys, and before I know it, everyone but Finn and I have vacated the room. Not to mention the lights have been dimmed. He starts whispering sweet nothings into my ear: "Let me wreck your area, little boy." Or "In two years, baby, I'm going to tour with Art Brut." You know, things like that. I woke up the next morning with pains I don't think my editors will let me describe, but at least I knew about this tour two years before all of you, SUCKAS!
Art Brut September 2007 Tourdates in NON-TMT format:
PJ Harvey To Officially Command 100% of the Popular Vote With New Album. In Other Poll News: Tulips On Your Organ Deemed Better Than Roses On Your Piano.
August 17 felt like just any other day. With all of the commotion surrounding the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis on the 16th, it is understandable that we would be too tired and hungover from celebrating the King'’s life, grieving his death, and gorging ourselves on fried peanut butter and banana sammiches to realize that we missed a crucial consumer and pop culture milestone. Lest we forget... the first commercially available Compact Disc was manufactured 25 years ago on August 17! Happy belateds!
After the failure of video discs, Sony and Philips joined their arms like brothers (remember this... this is foreshadowing) to further develop a more sensible disc product using laser technology. There is your moral; if at first you don't succeed, make it smaller. This nugget of wisdom works for everything, from ritzy cars to Ritz Crackers.
Here are some facts about CDs, how they came to enslave the free world, and also some tidbits on one of our most revered recording artists: PJ Harvey.
- Philips actually began work on a laser audio disc system back in 1970 after stealing the idea, er, sorry, being inspired by Antonio Rubbiani’'s rudimentary video disc system that he introduced in 1957.
- PJ Harvey releases CDs and will be issuing her 7th album on this format (not including her demo releases and collaboration with John Parish) September 24 through Island Records. Produced by Harvey, master knob-twiddler Flood, and the aforesaid Parish, White Chalk contains 11 songs and features guest contributions by Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart, Frank Black) and Jim White (Dirty Three, recent Nina Nastasia collaborator). A single, "When Under Ether," will be out September 17 on 7-inch single and download (take that CDs!), featuring a previously unreleased track recorded by Harvey way back in 1988 called "Wait."
- Way back in 1988, the CD celebrated its 6th anniversary (1988 - 1982 = 6).
- Way back in 1988, I was celebrated for making the “Remedial Mathletes” (C-Squad) team in high school on my third attempt.
- White Chalk is the first solo PJ Harvey album in three years, which is actually refreshing. We don't need every artist we love to release an album or two every single flippin'’ year. While we realize that these are the days of pushing yourself toward an early grave by squatting in studios and flying half way across the world to record a 30-second guitar part for some dude you've known since kindergarten, it doesn't impress us much. We appreciate good albums even if they take longer to write, record, and release than Chinese Democracy.
- The first commercial CDs pressed were The Visitors by Abba and a recording of Herbert von Karajan conducting the Alpine Symphony. In other words, GOOD music. In 1985, Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms (hey? hey?) was the first fully digital (DDD) CD released. It was the first CD to sell a million copies and is still the biggest selling CD of all time. Don't fret fans of The Eagles; Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 still holds the distinction of being the best selling album ever.
- I still find this hard to believe that Brothers in Arms is the biggest selling CD of all time, but keeping this supposition here is far easier than fact-checking it, yaknowwhaImsayin’? PJ Harvey is better than Dire Straits and all of Polly Jean Harvey'’s songs are better than all of Dire Straits'’ songs, except for "“Twistin’ by the Pool,”" which, I've been told, is better than "impending apocalypse sex." It's easier to understand the selling strength of The Eagles because that album contain the awesome lyrics "I've been runnin' down the road tryin' to loosen my load..." -- a truly universal activity. Breathing, eating, sleeping, running down the road, and loosening loads are the five essential body requirements according to health scientists.
- Some early product names tested were MiniDisc, Compact Rack, and Mini Rack. "Mini Rack" has managed to live on in infamy and is used widely by the gutter press to describe the beautiful carpenter's dream Keira Knightley.
- CDs are supposed to be unscratchable, yet every CD that has really ever meant anything to me seemed to get a knick at the best part of a song or ended up clawed to shit underneath a car seat alongside a couple of McFries and a glow-in-the-dark soiled safe. Sigh.
- The date for Polly Harvey's only live show announced so far is September 29. It is a sold-out affair at the Royal Festival Hall in London, so you will have to claw your way through more than a couple of McFries and soiled safes to get in that night. The 25th anniversary of this show will be September 29, 2032, long after the anniversary of the death of the Compact Disc.
1. The Devil
2. Dear Darkness
3. Grow Grow Grow
4. When Under Ether
5. White Chalk
6. Broken Harp
8. To Talk To You
9. The Piano
10. Before Departure
11. The Mountain
Good News For Fans of Electro-Orchestral Indie-Funk Tribal-Techno Space-Pop Collectives: Architecture In Helsinki Tour North America
As a TMT reader, you’ve probably heard of Architecture in Helsinki by now. But perhaps you’ve been too insecure to attend one of their concerts. Maybe you’re worried that there are enough members in the band to beat you up if you accidentally singe them with your pants, which you have unconsciously removed and set ablaze while caught up in the swelling energy of the music. Or maybe you’ve never seen a glockenspiel before and don’t want the magic of that word ruined for you.
It’s okay to be afraid. I’ll take you through this step by step:
This fall, the Australian musicians that everyone loves to count, Architecture in Helsinki, will tour across Western Europe and North America. They will be joined on 12 European dates by YACHT, with whom they shared shows earlier this summer.
Architecture in Helsinki will be playing songs from their new album, the half hour of power Places Like These (TMT Review). You can listen to part of the album on their MySpace page and download the single “Heart It Races” for free here. I suggest that you purchase the full album, as you will be required to hum every melody flawlessly in order to enter the concert. Those who fail to do so will be shrunk to the size of a grain of sand and forced to live out their years in Gus Franklin’s hair until they are eventually murdered by lice. Since the new LP is so short (don’t say it), chances are the band will play earlier works as well. So you should also buy the two preceding albums, Fingers Crossed and In Case We Die, just to be safe. Oh, and on their last tour, they played the Degrassi Junior High theme song, so you had better download and memorize that as well, if you want to avoid a most gruesomely absurd fate.
In order to ready yourself for the unfamiliar levels of quirkiness you’ll experience once inside the concert, I suggest that you watch the music videos for “Heart it Races” and “Hold Music.” While in Paris, Architecture in Helsinki recorded two live hootenannies for the zine La Blogotheque. While not typical AiH concert fare, they may provide an essential stepping stone that will save you from the raw shock and trauma of seeing a live band unprepared. In recent years, hundreds of people have lost consciousness due to the sheer number of instruments present at Architecture in Helsinki concerts (science has proven that the average human threshold is a 3:1 instrument-to-performer ratio).
If you’re still uncomfortable, Architecture in Helsinki put out an EP with tourmates Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Takka Takka containing two live AiH tracks. This precious elixir was only sold on the tour, but I’m sure you can figure that one out on your own if you want the extra safety. Or you can always just carry a pear in your left pocket.
Now you can have fun as correctly and safely as possible:
The word ‘emo’ has caused enough damage. It’s got to go. What used to be a relatively fair descriptor for transitioning ‘80s hardcore and its ‘90s descendents has turned into an unspecific, trite, and all-but-meaningless cliché.
Well, to be fair, it turned into a cliché a long time ago.
But only recently have former ‘emo’ users and abusers been able to realize the destructive nature of their problem. The pejorative connotations of the word make any and all attempts to ‘take back’ the word misguided and ultimately fruitless. Stop. Stop using it. ‘Emo’ is gone. Forever. Damn, I didn't even mean to use it two sentences ago. I better start calling it ‘The E word.’ Yes, that’ll make people forget about it. Genius.
Now: The disbanded pop-punk group Hey Mercedes is getting back together for a two-show stint: one a straight ahead rock gig in Milwaukee (in fact, it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que," which is Algonquin for "the good land."), the other a grand-opening shindig for Threadless’ new retail store in Chicago. The latter will be free, granted you stop by said retail location after it opens September 10 and pick up, at the most, two tickets. Like those free movie preview passes you sometimes get when you test drive a car, tickets do not guarantee entry.
Note: If you care about what TMT thinks, Nanna’s last City on Film LP featured a certain Minus the Bear backing him up. ‘E Word’ to the max... WOOPS!
09.13.07 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club *
09.14.07 – Chicago, IL – The Metro #
* The Response & New Ruins
# Anathallo & Freer
Deerhoof, Dirty Projectors, Mount Eerie, and TVOTR Contribute to Worried Noodles Album; Stan Lee To Illustrate The Great American Songbook
To quote the early 1980s, tiger-striped, spandex-wearing Rod Stewart, “some guys have all the luck.” The only “artists” I could harass into composing scores to the words in my still unpublished one-part play Pickly!: The Really Sour Pickle was my uncle on drunken kazoo and Daniel Baldwin. I mean, my uncle kicks ass on the ‘zoo, and Baldwin does a mean second-rate Tom Waits impression (especially when sitting behind a miniature piano), but compared to Worried Noodles, it sounds like Impotent Noodles. I am not sure how Scottish artist David Shrigley did it, but he has mustered up contributions from Deerhoof, Dirty Projectors, Max Tundra, Mount Eerie, Franz Ferdinand, Grizzly Bear, David Byrne, YACHT, Liars, TV On The Radio, and 32 more artists who wrote and recorded songs based on his work! To quote the early-1970s, jeans-with-leather-crotch-patch-wearing Rod Stewart (what the... again?), “every picture tells a story.”
Post-Disco Rod and Boozy-Dude Rod would both have to admit that Shrigley’s scribbles lend themselves nicely to a musical liaison. Worried Noodles -- a 39-song double-disc collection -- will be released October 23 through Tomlab (and on 3xLP in 2008). Shrigley is known primarily for designing album covers, creating wry cartoons, sculptures, animated film, videos, and photos... pretty much your average all-around socially sharp, oft-hilarious, multidisciplinary artist. Worried Noodles (The Empty Sleeve) originally came out as an LP-shaped lyrics and illustration book two years ago. Since then, many heroic musicians and worthless civilians have embraced Shrigley’s work. But only artistic admirers are on Worried Noodles, the album.
1. Roger Ferguson - “Welcome Singer”
2. Christopher Francis - “One”
3. Grizzly Bear - “Blackcurrant Jam”
4. R. Stevie Moore - “Live in Fear”
5. Phil Elvrum & Nick Krgovich - “Whatcha Doin”
6. Scarlett’s Well - “Maybe”
7. Psapp - “Sad Song”
8. Aidan Moffat & The Best Of’s - “Your Hands Are Cold”
9. YACHT - “I Saw You”
10. Simon Bookish - “Prince of Wales”
11. Deerhoof - “You, Dog” (AKA “Kidz Are So Small”)
12. Hank - “Baby’s Bible”
13. Marriot 1262 (TV On The Radio Portland Chapter) - “Sweet, Sweet Potato”
14. David Byrne - “For You”
15. James Chadwick - “The Wooden Floor”
16. Islands - “Joy”
17. Cotton Candy - “A Sentimental Song”
18. Franz Ferdinand - “No”
19. Alig Fodder - “The Hole”
20. Cibelle - “Elaine”
1. Dirty Projectors - “Come Forward”
2. The Curtains - “Show Me the Way Things Work”
3. Max Tundra - “A Truce”
4. Munch Munch - “A Squirrel”
5. Liars - “Panic Button”
6. Tussle (fest. David Shrigley) - “A Clash of Hands”
7. Trans Am - “The Film”
8. John Shankie - “A Song”
9. Scout Niblett - “The Bell”
10. Final Fantasy - “Joys”
11. Mount Eerie - “A Sentimental Song”
12. The Dead Science - “Once I Found a Diamond”
13. Lord Cut Glass - “Maybe”
14. No Kids - “Another Song”
15. Hot Chip - “No”
16. Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - “The Pretty Girl”
17. Mitch Friedman - “Awesome”
18. Pyrolator & Stoya - “Elaine”
19. Les Georges Leningrad - “Manager and Coordinator of Prostitutes”
New York Governor Signs “Truth in Music” Law, Sha Na Na Fans No Longer Discussing Theories on Multiple Existences
New York governor Eliot Spitzer has recently positioned himself in the ever-lumpy, faded, and urine-smelling armchair of fruitless music rights championing.
In an effort to defend the forgettable rights of music-makers Sha Na Na (of Grease... acclaim), The Coasters, and The Platters, Spitzer recently John Hancocked the Truth in Music Law, which fines bands up to $15,000 for passing themselves off as these and other acts they’re in no way affiliated with.
In other words, imposter acts in cheaper toupees are (apparently) posing as the aforementioned B-listers and profiting off their name.
And get this, enlightened precious TMT reader:
THIS HAPPENS A LOT.
Which is preposterous, considering how BIG Sha Na Na is/was, and the plethora of Jon Bauman spreads to grace a Tiger Beat.* I mean, ladies and gents, he was the host of Hollywood Squares, which trumps any ab-pumping David Cassidy pin-up.
Let’s be real. Your parents probably got wasted at the Sha Na Na reunion show, stood in a mosh pit thick with the smothering pungency of b.o. and Old Spice, the drenched armpits of your dad’s Tommy Bahama shirt flailing. Your mom probably threw (sensible) panties onstage.
THE REAL PROBLEM: Those pesky imposters are stealing sloppy rock ‘n’ roll blowjobs from sexually-charged forty-somethings with fried hair, pleather jackets, and menthol cigarette breath.
YOUR REAL PROBLEM: You don’t want your mom blowing a phony Jon Bauman.
M83 enjoyed enormous success with 2006's Before the Dawn Heals Us. I liked the album, just not those creepy intros to the songs where a schizophrenic mother is talking to herself and thinking that someone is stalking her. Yes, I'm sure it weirded you out too, but if you haven't heard it yet, pick up the album and prepare to be blown away by Anthony Gonzalez and his AMAZING AMBIENT ELECTRONICA MUSIC. Of course, also be prepared to be weirded out by the aforementioned schizophrenic mother skits.
Talk of the 2006 album aside, it looks as if the new, as-yet untitled M83 album will be released in early 2008. Gonzalez is currently in the studio working on it with Ken Thomas (Sigur Rós, Sugarcubes, Cocteau Twins, Suede) and Ewan Pearson (Tracey Thorn, The Rapture, Ladytron).
Sadly that's all the information released so far about the new M83 album, but lucky for you, we've got info on a side-project called Digital Shades. Featuring tracks that Gonzalez has been slowly working on (sans pressure and time constraints) since 2006, Digital Shades: Vol. 1 is ostensibly the first installment in a series of ambient works. The album is said to be influenced by Eno and Krautrock and is named Digital Shades due to both the process by which it was recorded and the way it will be distributed. Digital, digitally... Cute! I don't quite understand the "shades" part yet (maybe he recorded it under a tree?), but it sounds cool.
Of course, be prepared for extremely creepy vocal introductions to songs about the devil trying to capture little children and their mommies when these new Gonzalez projects drop.
"This isn't Wolf Parade!"
"Who is this guy and this girl?"
"What is going on?"
"Where did my pants go?"
"Why does that gorilla have a penis?"
Warning: A Handsome Furs show may not specifically be for Wolf Parade fans. Yes, it is true that Handsome Furs features Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade with his wife Alexei Perry. And yes, it is true that the duo is a side project of Wolf Parade. But we must realize that side projects do not often fully represent the same sounds as the residing band, as science has proved over and over again.
Most importantly, Handsome Furs is a musical act, not a Furry convention. I learned the hard way by showing up to a Handsome Furs show in a sexually explicit gorilla costume. Let's just say the crowd doesn't often take too kindly to Furries.
The Montrealites will be playing a handful of North American shows before heading overseas to play songs from the Sub Pop-released, Plague Park. You can come to any of these shows however you want, but please do not be disappointed that Handsome Furs is not Wolf Parade. You will know this when you purchase your ticket.
"I guess this sort of sounds like Wolf Parade."
IPI, a Texas-based "think-tank" more properly known as the Institute for Policy Innovation, released a report that claims the the annual cost to the glorious U.S. economy of music "piracy" runs to a cool $12.5 billion and precisely 71,060 jobs. Not 71,070. Not "around 70,000." No, 71,060 jobs, spread across all industries, not just the recording industry. The report also includes financial and job losses in industries hit by the ‘knock-on’ effects of the recording industry wobbling under the scourge of piracy. Like that platinum cocaine spoon manufacturer in Fresno that just closed down.
However, the report is riddled with assertions that seemingly appear out of thin air and some ridiculous omissions. For example, the exceptionally precise figures provided above are all calculated from an assertion that there are 20 billion ‘illegal’ downloads a year and a claim that 20% of everything that is downloaded would otherwise be sold through ‘legal’ channels. These figures, needless to say, are total crapshoots. The 20 billion is the industry estimate of download numbers for 2005 (which, in the extremely unlikely event that it is in any way accurate, is now totally out-of-date anyway). The 20% figure comes from an obscure 2004 study – here, if you’re interested – which itself only came to this number based on their analysis of the downloading climate between 1998 and 2002. The writers of this study themselves described this estimate as “crude”. Nowadays, this figure is both crude and nearly ten years out-of-date, but is being utilized in a report that advertises itself as containing “the latest data on worldwide piracy of recorded music.” Ha.
The reality of the situation is that there is literally no way of knowing what proportion of downloaded tracks would otherwise have been purchased -- hell, the RIAA are pushing in its noble and righteous private prosecutions that 100% of downloaded music would otherwise have been purchased! And, simply put, there are no existing reliable figures on the number of downloads that actually occur. Absent of any such reliable data, the headline figures offered by the IPI are simply not worth the paper they’re written on. The report also totally fails to address the arguments put forward by proponents of P2P networks -- you know, about downloads in many cases actually promoting sales of CDs through ‘introducing’ people to bands and genres they otherwise would never have heard.
This shadowy behavior isn’t overly surprising when you take a look at the mob that struggled to shit this turd out. These guys (the IPI), although claiming to be independent and non-partisan, are considered one of the most extreme right-wing think tanks in the country, scoring a perfect ‘eight’ on a scale of one (ultra-liberal) to eight (über-conservative) that was devised by the almost equally reactionary Capital Research Center. The Aryan Nation only managed to scrape a seven. Alright, I’m kidding about that last bit. But it’s nice to see who’s there on the barricades along with the RIAA and Lars Ulrich.
Additionally, the IPI will not, under any circumstances, divulge the names of any of their corporate donors; as such, the report itself could have been completely funded by the RIAA, and we would be none the wiser. I do know that the author of the report -- a wingnut economist who goes under the vaguely effluent-sounding name of Stephen Siwek -- has produced numerous reports over the years on behalf of the RIAA and another linked group, the International Intellectual Property Alliance.
Taking all this into account, it would be crazy to even dream of suggesting that the RIAA and its front organizations may have had contributed a five spot or two to the IPI’s “General Support Funds” that paid for this report to be cobbled together. So I won’t. But I will suggest that you all prepare to turn your leaked copies of Graduation up really high in order to drown out the noise of this report being parroted by the RIAA and their Congressional whores as yet more irrefutable evidence of the evils of file-sharing. It might get nasty.
Two weeks ago, Karl Rove left his White House Deputy Chief of Staff and senior advisor positions in a teary farewell. The Republican campaign wunderkind known as "The Architect" no longer serves at the pleasure of the President, and rumors of his future swirled without any regard for aerodynamics around the news media and Rove's husky body. What would he do? Where would he go? President Bush stood by his side, metaphorically arm-in-arm, as Rove dropped his bomb. If we could have heard Rove's thoughts at that moment, it surely would have been like the scene from the Brendan Frasier vehicle, The Mummy, in which Brendan's hired hand reassures him with the inspirational line, "Your strength gives me strength." And as Rove walked off into the sunset, bags packed and heart broken, America looked on, wondering whether Karl, Dear Karl, would ever love again.
Well, I am happy to report that, yes, Karl Rove has landed on his feet. It turns out, throughout his time in the White House as the professor of Dark Arts, Rove kept a delightfully upbeat paramour. His mistress: Music. His genre: Seduction!
Rove, split from the President, has poured all that broken love into his new project: Mates of State! That's right, Karl, Dear Karl, has joined forces with Kori and Jason, the only two people who have as much love as he. The new addition has not been without its headaches. Karl is an incorrigible alpha-male, and he can't shake his Architect role, leading to hilarious sitcom-like scenarios that I've coyly called "Karl's Snarls."
It sounds like bad news, but boy oh boy, our Dear Karl is whipping those Mates of State into action. Because of Karl, and Karl alone, the group has gone back into the recording studio. They've recorded three tunes with Chris Walla, wow! A new album is under construction. Meticulously crafted, 9/11 security-themed, and deliciously raucous and poppy, Karl is a little bit Mies van der Rohe, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.
Karl is in a good place now, and Mates of State, bless their souls, are in an even better place because of him. They're even going on a tiny mix tour with some sweet acoustic shows. It's a short list, so don't expect a show at the White House anytime soon. A breakup is always hard, and everyone needs time to heal. Karl's love is too strong to keep him down; luckily Mates of State caught it, for their sake and ours.